Tinctures, What are they, how to make and use them.

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A tincture is an extract made from fresh or dried herbs steeped in food grade alcohol (Vodka or Brandy), glycerin or vinegar for several weeks and then straining it. Also called extracts (the same way vanilla extract is made).

Alcohol tinctures are the most common and the easiest to make. Alcohol is most often used because of how strong it is. Some herbs require something this strong to release their medicinal properties, where glycerin or vinegar are not strong enough. The alcohol also acts as preservative giving tinctures an unlimited shelf life if stored away from heat and light.

Vegetable glycerin tinctures are alcohol free and are a bit less potent then some of the alcohol based tinctures (depending on the herb used some may be the same strength as the alcohol based) They do have a little sweeter taste then the alcohol based and are a good choice for children since they are not as bitter tasting.

The advantages of tinctures are that they are concentrated, easy to take, rapidly absorbed, easy on the stomach, and they have a very long shelf life unlike dried herbs. And they take up a lot less space than dried herbs, and are easier to use and more convenient, no boiling teas or making capsules. And they have a very long shelf life. You can make your own or you can buy them from a health food store. It can be very expensive to buy them. They are very easy to make yourself and a lot cheaper especially when you use herbs you have grown yourself. If you have a problem with the alcohol or you don’t want to give it to children you can make them with glycerin or with pure cider vinegar which is also good if you will be using it for daily long term use. The only ones I have made are with alcohol.

Tinctures are very easy to make You need 80 to 100 proof vodka or brandy A pint sized (or larger) glass jar. I like to use quart jars for tinctures that I am going to be using a lot. Herbs of choice Cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer. I like to get Knee highs that are in the little balls for 33 cents, then I will cut each in half and I have 4 (just tie a knot in the cut end) Way cheaper than cheese cloth and it is fine enough that it catches all the small stuff.

Dark Bottles, If you don’t have dark bottles pour off into smaller jars and be sure to store in a cool dark place.


Fill the jar about 2/3 to ¾ full of fresh herbs when using dried use about half that. Then fill your jar with vodka or brandy. Make sure all the herbs are covered with alcohol Cover and label then store in a cool dark place for at least four to six weeks I like to let mine sit at least 6 weeks. Shake them up every few days for the first few weeks. It doesn’t hurt for them to sit longer I have a couple that have been sitting for a couple years. Just strain and put into dark glass bottles (be sure to label) when ready to use. You can also mix herbs to make a blend. If you want to make sure you have a higher concentration or if using older herbs repeat the process just strain off the alcohol then pour back over another jar of herbs.

The standard dosage is 1 to 2 drops per 5 pounds of body weight placed in a cup of water of juice. You might want to measure that out into a measuring spoon so it is easier to use when you are using it all the time. One dropper full hold about 25 drops the glass dropper will be about 1 inch full.

For best results be consistent, the frequency of use will depend on the illness for acute illness such as colds take smaller doses more frequently sometimes as often as ten times a day. For daily use or long term illness take the standard dose 2 to 4 times a day for as long as needed. As with any medications, use common sense when using them, if you are allergic to something in the tincture do not use.

For autoimmune disorders it is recommended to double your doses for the first week of treatment.

Tinctures can be taken with or without food because in tincture form it is absorbed quickly into the blood stream.

How to Remove the Alcohol in a Tincture

Herbal tinctures are herb extracts suspended in an alcohol base. If you have concerns about alcohol consumption, please follow these instructions: Before each dose:

1. Boil some water

2. Measure tincture dose into a glass

3. Pour ¼ cup of boiling water into glass with tincture.

4. Allow tincture and water mixture to cool, and take dosage as usual. It will have no more alcohol than a ripe banana.

And as with any herbs if pregnant always consult your doctor. The information contained in this page is for educational purposes only, and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice diag­no­sis, or treatment.


5 thoughts on “Tinctures, What are they, how to make and use them.

  1. Alicia Owen

    I can’t wait to try making my own this year. I love tinctures and have been using one to help with my seasonal affective disorder for 2 years now. 🙂 Thanks for sharing on how to make them!

    1. watkinsranches@yahoo.com Post author

      There a several that I like, I try real hard to use what grows locally. May try to do a post on what herbs I use.
      Have a great day,

  2. Jann Olson

    This is so interesting! I have never heard the term tinctures before. Thanks for sharing this information with SYC.